Being an entrepreneur is in Divya Gugnani’s DNA. She came to the industry from a unique path, diverging from investment banking and private equity into the aesthetic-driven world of beauty. While that’s an uncommon transition on most resumes, her title of “accidental entrepreneur” is only a small part of her story.
Now, the founder of clean beauty brand, Wander Beauty, Divya’s trajectory serves as a powerful reminder that at every step of our journey, we are exactly where we need to be. arrive. The same is true of many successful, passionate founders, Divya’s current business is inspired by the challenges she is facing in her own life. She set out to create a solution for busy people looking for clean beauty elements. And Wander Beauty sits neatly at the intersection of these two pursuits.
“Our goal is to help streamline the modern woman’s routine so she can spend less time preparing and more time doing what she loves.”
As conveyed in the intention behind each of its products, Divya’s lifestyle prioritizes the combination of efficiency and finding joy in every day. She limits the number of minutes she spends on social media, exercises in between meetings, and doesn’t leave technology in her bedroom. With this structured setup, she has more time for her children, more space for impromptu creativity, and more than enough room to nurture her grocery shopping obsession. Did I mention she swims at night?
Just as Divya knows how to build a company, she knows how to build a life. In both, she is guided by her intuition and she is not afraid to do things differently. This creates a routine that provides both focus and flexibility. Dive into the inspiration below.
About building a unique career
You left a successful career in investment banking and private equity to launch your business. What inspired you to take the leap?
I left my financial career to become an entrepreneur and successfully started four different businesses. Before starting Wander Beauty, I worked at QVC after selling my previous company to them. But while I was there, I found that I missed out on entrepreneurship. Finally, I realized there was a problem in my beauty routine and decided to start a business to solve it.
What was the motivation behind the launch of Wandering Beauty, and what was the goal?
I am a working mother and have two children in two years. I’m more time-starved than ever, with makeup on the subway, skincare at the gym and hair done at my desk. I realized that my products and processes weren’t built to beautify in motion: There were too many products, an arsenal of “must have” tools, and products in overly heavy, cumbersome packaging. Bulky and fragile can’t be beyond my suitable capacity. I need high-performance products that save me time in my day and space in my beauty bag.
In 2015, Lindsay Ellingson and I launched Wander Beauty to create essential products you have access to every day. Our goal is to help streamline the modern woman’s routine so she can spend less time preparing and more time doing what she loves.
Lessons she learned along the way
What values have guided Wander Beauty?
I believe in innovation, not imitation. When we first started launching mascara, people didn’t recommend us because it was already a very crowded space. But we knew we had something special with our mascara, so we trusted our guts and moved on with the launch.
We have innovated in formulation, delivery system, packaging and wand. Both Unlashed Volume and Curl Mascara and Mile High Club™ Volume and Length Mascara are now multi award winning.
Pursue passion, seek success
If you could credit your success to one thing, what would it be?
I always trust my gut and always follow my intuition.
What is your favorite career advice?
Learn to listen. Active listening is an important skill for any leader. It builds and strengthens relationships between customers and brands, and between managers and employees.
Divya Gugnani shares her morning Routine
What does a typical morning look like to you?
I start my day with ginger water and transcendental meditation to calm my mind and body and give me the strength to focus on for the day. Then I empty my inbox and relax before taking the kids to school. I often stop by the grocery store on my way home because I am obsessed with grocery shopping and always try new and interesting recipes. Then when I get home, I start my work day.
What do you eat in the morning?
I love making this homemade yogurt with granola and fruit.
Take us through your beauty routine.
I don’t wash my face in the morning. I start by sprinkling warm water on my face and then lather my face with Mist Connection Essence and Toner. I complete my skincare routine with Sight C-er Vitamin C Concentrate and sunscreen.
For makeup, I started with Dualist Matte and Illuminating Concealer, then added some color to the lips and cheeks with Double Date Lip and Cheek. Finally, I applied several layers of Upgraded Lashes Treatment Mascara. These products get me ready for the day.
Get dressed with Divya Gugnani
What is your daily uniform?
I wear gym clothes or long clothes every day. I love Giapenta, ThirdLove, Athleta and Heroine Sport. My daily uniform has completely changed since the quarantine because I don’t have to go into the office because I am working remotely from Miami.
What’s your favorite getting ready soundtrack?
“Tusa” by KAROL G and Nicki Minaj, and “Dákiti” by Bad Bunny and Jhay Cortez.
What about your favorite books?
Rituals and products for a smooth, successful morning
What do you always keep on your nightstand?
I want the headboard to be clear so I don’t get distracted. I keep a pen and paper in my drawer for any late night ideas because I don’t like touching my phone at night. My bedroom is my refuge. I don’t do any work there and I don’t have a TV or any electronic devices in the room. However, I keep my phone because I use it for my alarm, but it is in Do Not Disturb mode.
What are your morning communication rituals?
I like to focus on work first thing in the morning, so I put off checking Instagram, news, and other media for the rest of the day. I really enjoy reading New York Times everyday.
Do you exercise in the morning?
I try to exercise mid-morning or lunchtime if I have a break between meetings. I alternate between weight and cardio circuits (elliptical, treadmill, cycling, or spinning). My favorite exercise is swimming and I usually swim in the evening after work. It’s a relaxing way to end the day with an effective workout.
What do you do to survive and have a basis?
I thank God once a day, every day for all that I have: my health, a roof over my head, hot food to feed my kids, and still being able to spend time with both mom and dad. I think the best thing I can do is express gratitude every day and there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t thank God.
Sentence complete set
I never leave the house with yout: My Dualist Matte and Illuminating Concealer. You never know who you will meet.
If there were more hours in the day, I would: Daily exercise.
The best routine in the morning: morning meditation.
Worst Morning Habit: check Instagram.
One thing I want to know is: helping others.
The greatest sacrifice I have made for my career is: miss special moments in my children’s lives.
What I fear the most is: irrelevant.
When I feel scared, I: Read everything and stay up to date with what’s going on in the world around me.
The book I always recommend is: Trip of a lifetime.
The top traits you need to be successful in life are: Hardworking, confident and eager to learn.